CUPE is committed to the goal of fair compensation for all our members. Proper evaluation of jobs is one way to achieve that goal without numerous individual grievances or expensive arbitrations.

CUPE’s job evaluation program provides a clear way to identify and remedy wage inequities in a bargaining unit. It can ensure workers are being compensated fairly in relation to the value of the work they do.

Our job evaluation specialists can review your pay structure and classification rights, and help you decide if joint job evaluation is right for your workplace. Staff can also assist by giving a presentation to employers explaining the highlights of CUPE’s job evaluation program.

Below you’ll find a summary of this presentation and the key features of the CUPE job evaluation program.

Program highlights

CUPE’s program is particularly effective because it is controlled by the parties involved, is easily adapted to any workplace and can be easily understood by both employees and management. Here’s a brief overview:

  • Joint program Our program is designed to be implemented and administered by both the union and the employer. CUPE recommends that appropriate terms of reference be jointly developed so the parties understand and agree at the outset on the terms and conditions of the program, its procedures, and the mandate of the Joint Job Evaluation Committee.
  • Job analysis CUPE recommends that those who know the jobs best (employees and supervisors) have direct input into the information being used to evaluate jobs, to ensure jobs are rated based on the duties actually being performed. This job content information is typically captured in a job description and by a questionnaire completed by the incumbent(s) and supervisor.
  • CUPE’s Gender-Neutral Job Evaluation Plan This is the name of the framework we use to measure and compare different types of work. Our plan has no copyright. It can be tailored to any workplace. Our plan has been successfully fine-tuned to take into account the different workplaces we represent.
  • Joint Job Evaluation Committee (JJEC) CUPE joint job evaluation committees should have equal union and management representation, as well as gender parity. It is best practice to select members from a cross-section of jobs and departments throughout the organization. Full training is given to the job evaluation committee and to alternate committee members on job evaluation procedures and on the recognition and elimination of bias.
  • Evaluation process The rating process is designed to objectively evaluate the jobs and not the performance of the individuals, and to ensure consistency in the rating process.
  • Implementation Upon completion of the rating procedures, the work of the JJEC is then turned over to the negotiating committee to determine the wages. If job evaluation is being conducted for pay equity purposes, then the parties should follow the pay equity law in their jurisdiction for analysis and implementation.
  • Maintenance After implementing a job evaluation program, you will have a basis for providing equal pay for work of equal value, but the program will need to be maintained to prevent gaps from re-emerging. CUPE recommends procedures be jointly developed and implemented to maintain the program. It is important that each party maintains accurate job descriptions and job ratings on an ongoing basis.

What is a job evaluation plan?

A joint committee uses a job evaluation plan (sometimes called a JE tool or job comparison system) to measure and rate the content of each job, using job descriptions and other job content information.

There are many different job evaluation plans on the market. Some are developed by unions and others by corporate consultancies. Some are copyrighted and cost money, while others are free. No matter which of these plans your workplace has agreed upon, it should contain these essential characteristics:

  • It is gender-neutral in its design and will survive a test of its neutrality and freedom from associated biases.
  • It is balanced, having an equal effect on women’s and men’s work.
  • It is comprehensive, having a structure that embraces as many aspects of the work done in the organization as possible.
  • It is workable and comprehensible to those within the organization who will be in charge of making the job evaluation program work (management and union representatives).
  • It is flexible enough to be tailored to the actual conditions of the workplaces concerned.

CUPE’s Gender-Neutral Job Evaluation Plan has all these characteristics and has been tested across dozens of sectors.

CUPE’s plan contains four main factors: skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions. Each factor has been subdivided into subfactors which will measure elements of work that are present to a certain degree in all jobs.

CUPE’s Gender-Neutral Job Evaluation Plan is copyright-free and is used widely across Canada by locals and employers in CUPE workplaces.

Your workplace’s joint job evaluation committee can use this plan to measure and rate the content of each job, using job descriptions and other job content information. The committee may also use interviews and make observations on-the-job, if necessary.

Work plan

When negotiating a joint job evaluation program, the parties should agree on a work plan that will lead to the successful completion of the program and will meet the proposed deadline.

CUPE’s suggested job evaluation work plan provides detailed step-by-step procedures for the parties to follow right from the start, and for future maintenance projects. These steps include:

  • Program planning
  • Training
  • Job analysis and job description writing
  • Job evaluation plan validation
  • Rating
  • Implementation
  • Maintenance

CUPE Job Evaluation is committed to supporting joint job evaluation committees with the technical aspects of each project, training needs and other assistance needed to ensure the fairness of the process. Our specialists will work with your joint committee to establish your program and a work plan. Once the parties are able to administer the program and plan new projects on their own, CUPE staff are available to support, advise and even re-train the committee, if required.

Communications plan

Good communication is an essential part of any job evaluation program. At every step of the job evaluation program, it is important that employees, supervisors and management are kept fully informed.

CUPE job evaluation specialists can provide sample newsletters to the joint job evaluation committee and guide them through the basics of keeping employees informed about the job evaluation process. Our staff can also assist the committee in facilitating virtual or in-person information sessions for employees and supervisors. Clear and consistent communication is one of the key responsibilities of the committee.

The success of the communications plan depends on the effectiveness of the committee in reaching its audiences through vehicles such as:

  • Newsletters or regular email communications
  • Information sessions
  • Meetings with employees

Wherever possible, feedback and information requests from all parties should be encouraged to ensure that everyone involved has the information needed to make the job evaluation program work.

CUPE’s technical capability

CUPE job evaluation specialists can perform technical analyses using the results from joint job evaluation to identify wage inequities and potential solutions. Our team uses in-house software specifically developed to assist with tasks such as: regression analysis to resolve pay equity gaps, modeling equitable banding scenarios, testing the weighting of plan factors for fairness and other analyses of the pay structure.


The CUPE job evaluation program is provided without cost.

This includes the following parts of the CUPE programs which are jointly established and will be implemented and administered by the parties:

  • Job analysis and job description
  • Training of the joint job evaluation committee
  • Evaluation process
  • Implementation process
  • Maintenance process

All staff from the various CUPE branches will be provided on an “as needed” basis.


At the end of the project, you will have:

  • A committee trained in how to evaluate jobs
  • An ongoing process for evaluating new jobs and reclassification requests
  • A group trained in job evaluation that can administer the program in the future.           

For more information about job evaluation, ask your national representative to contact the CUPE job evaluation specialist for your region.